Real lives are at stake in rural areas

“In way too many stories, the idea that tens of millions of people could lose health insurance amounted to a throwaway line. Those are real people, people like my sister, who will literally die if she can’t afford her medicine.”

Hey there Blue State folks! Those of us out here in the rest of the country are glad that over the last year you’ve shown an interest in making our acquaintance.

Recently, several prominent media organizations took it a step further, announcing support for local journalists. The Nieman Foundation recently announced the Abrams Nieman Fellowship in Local Investigative Journalism. These fellows will join the traditional fellow class plus get additional support and mentoring upon returning to their local newsrooms.

ProPublica meanwhile determined the seven newsrooms in their new Local Reporting Network focused on investigative reporting. The The GroundTruth Project will also soon reveal a new round of reporters placed in smaller markets after announcing earlier a collaboration with three newsrooms in Kentucky and West Virginia. There is definitely an interest among journalists. Nearly 250 newsrooms applied to ProPublica, and an equal number of individuals applied to GroundTruth.

My prediction is that this effort will continue to grow as journalists from different places join in the common goal of doing work that matters in the day-to-day lives of people.

My hope is that this trend will evolve into a sustained exploration of poor health in rural areas, particularly Appalachia.

Why? Rural health is in a crisis. It’s certainly been reported that people are dying in record numbers from drug overdose. But it’s less widely known that 100 of the 220 counties at highest risk for HIV and Hepatitis-C infection are in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio.

Drug abuse is creating other health challenges such as endocarditis, a heart infection that requires long and expensive treatment and which can be spread by reusing syringes. Or neonatal abstinence syndrome, which impacts at least 5 percent of all babies born in West Virigina.

This is impacting communities where people are actually living shorter lives than they used to.

These problems don’t stop at state borders. The burden of caring for folks, or letting them die, should be a critical part of the national discourse, not simply a health policy talking point.

Ideally, national and regional news organizations will examine how they use their most valuable resource, people. The endless tick-tock and vote counting on health care policy is a good example. In way too many stories, the idea that tens of millions of people could lose health insurance amounted to a throwaway line. Those are real people, people like my sister, who will literally die if she can’t afford her medicine.

Sustained political will is necessary to make a tangible change and that begins with dedicated journalists laying bare the problems, but also highlighting the good work people are doing to change their communities for the better.

Highlighting that work can help it be replicated in other places and, over time, that could mean the horrifying health trends evident in places like Kentucky, where I live, will start to change.

Mary Meehan covers healthcare policy for the Ohio Valley ReSource.

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Jake Levine   The return to now

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Burt Herman   Things get real

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Paul Ford   Go global

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI